When do Political Parties Join Protests? A Comparative Analysis of Party Involvement in “For Fair Elections” Movement
Why some political parties join popular protests, whereas others abstain or even oppose? Using paired case-study comparison between the Russian regions, we examine political parties' strategies towards “For Fair Elections” movement in 2011-2012 and explain these choices through two jointly operating mechanisms: level of party institutionalisation and cooptation. We show that despite the symbiosis of the state and political parties and overall parties' loyalty to the regime, they differ in their strategy and degree of involvement in social movement development. There is a considerable variation among the same parties’ regional offices in their strategies. We argue that the mechanism of party institutionalisation explains the switch between involvement and abstention, while cooptation does a better job in explaining the “support/ counteract” choice.